Do Deadlines Make Your Teeth Itch?

Mesu Andrews Uncategorized 12 Comments

deadlinesSome of you know that when deadlines hit, I hit a wall. Some folks excel under pressure. I fold. Some people like the thrill of competition. I concede.

For those of you who thrive with goals and deadlines—you have my deepest respect and congratulations. For those who struggle—as I do—with meeting demands when the clock is ticking, keep reading. I hope to share the encouragement I received recently from the Lord.

First Deadline—Check

We knew our summer would be busy with the amazing blessing of two new grand babies. Since my job is flexible, I began writing in April and May to pre-schedule blog posts and newsletters for June, July, and August. Only one major project was totally out of my control—the edits on The Pharaoh’s Daughter. I had to wait for my editor to return the edits when she finished her first read through.

That was the hardest project to handle—the one out of my control.

The first summer-grandbaby arrived in late-May, and I spent June in the Midwest, enjoying the visit with our eldest daughter and extended family. I returned home and received the edits on Pharaoh’s Daughter in early July.

OFF TO THE RACES! I wrote like a mad-woman for the full month of July and was able to complete the revision before I left for my August trip to welcome summer-grandbaby #2 in Colorado. (Interesting tidbit—my editor didn’t give me a deadline for the revision. Thank You, Lord!) While in Colorado, I got the green-light to move ahead with book #6 (Miriam) plotting and characterization! Woohoo! Wait…more work…and another deadline.

Newsletters, Blogs, and a Book—Oh My!

On September 1st, I returned home with no Friday blogs “in the hopper” and my October newsletter deadline looming. And did I mention I was now consumed with character and plot development for Miriam?

Though my summer had been an absolute dream of time spent with our daughters and new grand babies, it was also a little stressful to completely take a break from writing during June and August, trusting the Lord to multiply my words when I returned to “life as usual” in the fall.

Reacting to Pressure

My first inclination to deal with a pressing deadline? I want to run upstairs, jump in bed, and hide under my blanket. Seriously.

But no one else will write MY book, MY blog posts, or MY newsletters. Bummer. Time to put on the “big-girl panties” and get to work.

…Which usually leads to burying myself in work and ignoring the rest of my life.

I’m an empty-nester. My hubby has a demanding job, and my kids/grandkids live thousands of miles away. What else do I have to do but work, right? Actually, that’s how I’ve lived for the past several months.

And my relationships and health have suffered. I forget to eat. I wake up in the middle of the night to write. I only half-listen to conversations with my husband, kids, and friends because I’m distracted. I miss appointments, birthdays, and neglect common courtesies because my brain is going in too many directions.

Sound familiar? You don’t have to be a writer to get over-committed. Maybe it’s not a writing deadline that looms for you but rather a huge work project—or twelve loads of laundry.

So, how do we fit all that needs to be done within the twenty-four-hour day God gives us?

The Simple Answer

The answer is simple, but it’s not easy. It’s revolutionary but not a revelation. I’m sure you’ve heard it 100 times:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”       Matthew 6:33-34

See? It’s not rocket science. But here’s what happened when I actually implemented these verses for several days in a row…

Just Do It

Because Miriam’s book spans much of Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, I’ve been struggling (code word for worrying) with condensing all the information into a clear picture of major and minor characters.

I began systematically reading through these three biblical books and found a key verse about one of Aaron’s sons—and Miriam’s nephew—Ithamar.

“These are the amounts of the materials used for the tabernacle, the tabernacle of the covenant law, which were recorded at Moses’ command by the Levites under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron, the priest.”                 Exodus 38:21 (emphasis added)

While “seeking first the Kingdom”—and in the span of about five minutes—I had a character sketch for a minor character in book #6. First, Ithamar could write. Second, he was meticulous. Third, whether he wanted to or not, he was a leader of men. These may seem like inconsequential details to you, but they mean the difference between a real-life character and a cardboard cut-out in biblical fiction. I. WAS. ECSTATIC!

And my teeth stopped itching for that day.

Your Struggle

Your life may be very different than mine. You may need physical strength or emotional healing or spiritual insight to face the next twenty-four hours. The truth is: the same God who showed me Ithamar is ready to provide for your needs, when you seek His Kingdom first.

Pray. Read His Word. Don’t leave that quiet space of praise and prayer until your teeth stop itching! Wrestle with God if you must, but seek His Kingdom for each day, and let Him give you everything else you need—as He’s promised to do.

Because when we live in anticipation of every day, our eyes will be opened to His work, His presence, and His provision as never before. I also learned that while reading for Miriam…

“When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, ‘What is it?’ For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, ‘It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat. This is what the Lord has commanded: “Everyone is to gather as much as they need.”’…Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away.”                            Exodus 16:14-16, 21 (emphasis added)


Today’s Question:

  • Is it easier to concentrate during your quiet time if you journal? Or does journaling distract you from praise/prayer?

Comments 12

  1. As far as journaling is concerned, I go through spurts with it. Sometimes journaling helps me focus. Other times is just one more thing on my too-full plate. But when I do journal, I’m always blessed.

    Loved and SO NEEDED this post, dear friend! Thank you so much for writing it. God is so good and He will supply all our needs according to His timetable. Your reminder (because I need reminding every day) is sent from Him.

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  2. Thanks for a needed post. I struggle with what I have to do and I do’t have near the things to do that you do. My main reaction is procrastination. I want to do better. I sometimes journal but it can get in the way of praise and prayer. I usually have a written list of prayer requests from which I pray. I don’t always get through them all and even with a list I forget some. I know God knows all the needs even thought I forget.

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  3. Wow! Wow! ‘Hiding’ in Jesus is the only place to escape to! You have found Him in the secret place. That place is not always alone on the mountain top but sometimes-always really-as you close your eyes and snuggle into Jesus’ breast, LETTING HIM absorb your frustrations, hurrying, confusion and desperations. Peace that passes understanding. Hid with Christ in God…are not just words on the page but actuality in times of deepest stress, confusion, desperation….actuality. Yes it takes practice and doing but you find that’s the only way to end craziness and find peace. In that peace comes inspiration, revelation and illumination. That’s always my prayer for you.

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      It is only in the practicing and DOING that we learn the kind of peace you’re describing, sweet Mama, and I don’t know anyone who’s had more practice than you! 😉 Thank you for your encouragement and above all…your prayers. Love you! 😉

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  4. Whew, I got tired just reading about your crazy schedule but can so relate and amazingly as I continued to read and came to the scripture part I began to feel a sense of peace! My health has suffered, too, due to my busyness. My personality is such that I don’t like loose ends and will work myself silly ’til they are ‘tied’. Thank you for the reminder that God is in control and seeking Him first will take care of the rest. I do journal occasionally and find that writing a verse that stands out as I read my Bible daily is helpful. Thanks and Blessings, Mesu…..I can relate to family living far away!

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      Linda, I’m so thrilled the Lord began to work His peace in you as you read. What a wonderful testimony of His amazing grace. We’ll keep keeping on, my friend! Blessings for your journey! 😉

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